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'The use of recombinant DNA technology can only benefit humans'

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Introduction

'The use of recombinant DNA technology can only benefit humans' Recombinant DNA technology is the combining of the DNA from one organism with DNA from another organism. There are many steps in creating recombinant DNA. It begins with the isolation of a gene of interest. This gene is cut using restriction enzyme which will cut the gene in a particular place. A vector is taken and cut open with the same restriction enzyme as the gene was cut with. A vector is a piece of DNA that is capable of growth. Common vectors are of that of a bacterial plasmid. Once vector and gene have been cut they are joined at their sticky ends by using DNA ligase. The viruses and transgenic bacteria used as vectors in the recombinant DNA technology could undergo mutilation which could produce a new pathogen which we won't be able to control. Recombinant DNA technology can have many benefits to humans; one of these benefits is the process of gene therapy. "Gene therapy is a way of treating disease by either replacing damaged or abnormal genes with normal ones or by providing new genetic instructions to help fight disease" (BBC News - Question and answer) In gene therapy instead of using drugs to treat and control the disease the doctor can introduce healthy copies of the damaged or missing gene into the patient's cells. ...read more.

Middle

Recombinant DNA technology can also help with insulin for diabetics. Human insulin can be made by transferring human insulin gene into E-coli bacteria. It is then grown in the fermenter. As the bacteria multiply they manufacture molecules of human insulin. This is then extracted and purified. The products are recombinant proteins which can be injected in to the diabetic. Research has looked into creating pigs with humanised organs to avoid organs being rejected in organ transplants. "Such organs could make up the shortfall in human donor organs." (Susan Aldridge - 15th November 1997) When transplanting humanised organs from pigs, "animal diseases and dormant viruses in animal genomes could be transferred to modern human population" (David Heaf - 30th January 2000) this can cause diseases and viruses that medical science has no remedy for. Specific religious groups couldn't use products from specific animals. When creating human organs in animals for transplant this can be a cause for concern. Cows are sacred animals to Hindus and Jews and Muslims think that pigs are unclean. Scientists are also developing a technique where children with a severely-reduced vision or near blindness defect gene can have partial vision restored. Scientists have been experimenting on dogs that have this defective gene which is an inherited disorder. This gene is involved in correcting the construction of photo receptors in the eye which convert light in to nerve signals. ...read more.

Conclusion

Genetically modifying can cause "reproduction and interbreeding with natural organisms spreading the genetic modification to new environments and future generations" (Green peace - Genetic engineering) Recombinant DNA technology is a benefit to humans in the way that it can provide treatments for disease for a number of patients with a range of conditions. Also for the use to cure genetic disorders before the child is born. I don't agree with the "playing god" with the unborn children. If the disease is a fatal one then maybe it is alright to correct the imperfection. But choosing what your baby will look like and its intelligence I don't think is acceptable. The production of insulin by using this technology is not a bad thing either. As the insulin does not come from animals it benefits the diabetics who are vegetarian or vegan and also it is a help to the religions where certain animals are sacred to them. In certain cases of genetically modifying food I agree with. The fact that these crops could provide food for people where normally they have a low agricultural productivity and GM food could provide plentiful food which is a good thing. But then there are the consequences of the GM food and these can over rule on advantages of GM food. The production of the humanised organs in animals is also a good idea to cut the short fall in human organ donors. Yet an argument may arise that the animals are being put under unnecessarily stress and cruelty. Also there arises an argument with religious groups. ...read more.

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